Category Archives: Squad

Review of individual performances and new transfers

Club boss Wolfgang Holzhäuser said this week in an interview on Bayer04-TV that the first stage of the squad planning for the next season has finalized. Additional transfers could happen if injuries occur or the new coach Robin Dutt sees in the preseason a need to improve a certain position.

However, according to the German Press we have no further room for investments into our squad.  The guaranteed sum of around 20 million euros for playing the group-stage of the Champions League is already used up.  The transfer of Schürrle (8-10 million euros), the stadium upgrade (costs: around 80 million euros, financed by a 0% interest loan from the Bayer AG), contract extensions and generous investments in new players at times where the Werkself did not play internationally could mean that we will not see further spectacular signings this summer apart from André Schürrle.  

Transfer Balance
negative= Expenditure in Transfers > Income from Transfers
Income from Transfers > Expenditure in Transfers

currently Season 2011/12: -10.200.000 €
Season 2010/11: +850.000 € (Winter-Sale of Helmes turned balance positive)
Season 2009/10: -4.950.000 €
Season 2008/09: -7.050.000 €
Season 2007/08: -7.180.000 €
Season 2006/07: +8.270.000 €
Season 2005/06: +1.565.000 €
Season 2004/05: +11.986.000 €
<<W.Holzhäuser substitutes R.Calmund as CEO with the objective to reduce the accumulated debt during our great years>>
Season 2003/04: -1.200.000
Season 2002/03: -13.450.000 € (relegation was avoided in the last fixture)
Season 2001/02: -2.150.000 € (3x

More details>> 

Find below a personal review on the individual season performances of the current squad and new signings; players that will continue on loan or be sold; or have left us this year.


Red= player leaving us
Green= new signing
Blue= future uncertain

Rating= from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).  

RB= right-back
CB= centre-back
LB= left-back
DM= defensive midfield
RM= right midfield
LM= left midfield
OM= offensive midfield (central)
ST= striker



René Adler: Overall steady from beginning to end with not many point losing mistakes.  Spectacular saves from him have been rare this season compared to other years.  Should extend his contract (running till 2012) in the next 2-3 weeks. *7*

Fabian Giefer: Did a good job when René Adler was out in two Bundesliga and two Europa League games. Good prospects for the future! *6*

Benedikt Fernandez: Played for the reserve team, will move to a 2.Bundesliga team. (contract expires) *no rating*

Tomasz Bobel: No match practice, will leave us too (contract expires). *no rating*

We will need to sign a third goalkeeper or promote one from the youth team.


Gonzalo Castro (RB,LB,LM): Seems to perform at a higher level in midfield, where ball losses and poor positioning are less noticeable. His three goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga, show his offensive potential. *7*

Daniel Schwaab (RB,CB): Was stronger this season in the centre-back position than as right-back. His change of position arose due to Hyypiä’s declining physical form. Great at initiating attacks from defense (can run forward with the ball and play a difficult pass). A quality which Stefan Reinartz and Manuel Friedrich lack. *7*

Stefan Reinartz (CB,DM): Not dynamic enough for the centre-back position, although he improved in the second part of the season. However, quick and agile strikers will continue to have it easy against him. Better off in defensive midfield. *4*

Manuel Friedrich (CB): Had a good stretch of games before the winter break. A shoulder injury made him miss most of the second part of the season. Given his age (32 in August) little room for physical improvement (slow). *5*

Sami Hyypiä (CB): It was an honor to have such a great player in our team. His second season at Bayer 04 was marked by an injury before the winter-break followed by a declining physical form during the rest of the season. Sami decided to renounce his last year of contract as he did not feel confident on playing another season at the level he would like to.  The Finnish player will use next season to obtain his coaching license.  He will work as an assistant to Finland’s national coach Mika-Matti Paatelainen and undergo trainee-ships at different clubs including Bayer 04. In 2012/13 he will join the Werkself as assistant coach for at least two years. *6*

Ömer Toprak (CB): New signing for Leverkusen coming from Freiburg. We have been following this centre-back the last three years.  A severe karting accident at the beginning of 2009 stopped his progression, he was out for over six months.  It took quite a while till he reached the level before the incident, 2010 was surely not his year.   In 2011 he had four decent games over the full distance, but once the news got out that he would move to Leverkusen, his performances dropped again.  Ömer finished the season with a red card, that did not allow him to play the season finale against Bayer 04. *4*

Michal Kadlec (LB,LM): Improved in comparison to last season, but never regained the level of his first year with Bruno Labbadia. Linked with Liverpool in the last months. *7*

Bastian Oczipka (LB,LM): This Bayer youngster has been on loan for three years, first at Hansa Rostock and then St.Pauli. In both clubs he was part of the starting line-up and therefore added 82 league games on both loan spells. Bastian played a great Bundesliga season but suffered a bone injury in the 23rd fixture which put an end to it. He is considered as one of the uprising German talents on the left back position together with Marcel Schmelzer (Dortmund) and Felix Bastians (Freiburg). With his return to Leverkusen, Kadlec will finally have the chance to receive a rest when needed.  As mentioned above he could also be the replacement for the Czech player in case of a transfer to Liverpool.  The initial report of Bild that Oczipka would be sold to Hoffenheim for 3 million Euros was false, the player confirmed his return last week in an interview. *7*

Domagoj Vida (RB,CB): Played only one Bundesliga and eight Europa League games. Solid on the defensive end, Domagoj should concentrate on improving his game going forward, especially passing and centers. Despite having some experience as centre-back in his previous team NK Osijek, Jupp Heynckes did not consider him for this position mainly because of his height (1,82 m), a factor he considers important. If Robin Dutt thinks the same will have to be seen. I expect him to break-through next season, considering that his first year was also marked by the adaptation to a new environment (did not speak any word of English or German when he arrived). *4*

Danny da Costa (RB,CB,RM): The youth player gave a solid debut with the first team against Atletico Madrid. Physically strong and versatile, I hope he gets more minutes next season despite sitting his Baccalaureate. If you look at the current squad: only Adler, Castro and Reinartz have made themselves with a regular place in the team coming from the youth section of Bayer 04. Too little, for a club that is praised nationwide for its excellent work in this area. *no rating*


Arturo Vidal (DM, RB): The Chilean played an extraordinary season with ten goals and nine assists in the league. It is no wonder that he has caught the attention of many big clubs (Bayern, Chelsea, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Inter/AC Milan…).  Known in the past for too many aggressive fouls and cards, Arturo has managed to finish the Bundesliga season with only four yellows and one yellow-red in 33 games. His contract expires in 2012 and he has so far rejected all contract extension offers. Both Holzhäuser and Völler said recently that he will play so or so next season with us. Is this just a way to increase the price tag or are we really going to hold onto him without seeing a buck next year if he continues to reject a contract extension and signs with another team? *10*

Sidney Sam (RM,LM): One of the best newcomers in the 1.Bundesliga.  Seven goals and three assists is a dream start for him in Germany’s highest division. Jupp Heynckes preferred him to play Robben style (strong left foot) on the right side, will Dutt too? *8*

Simon Rolfes (DM): Had a couple of good games (especially the one against Wolfsburg) when he came back from his injury but in the last matches of the season declined severely and was consequently taken out of the starting line-up. A large proportion of the Fans see him inadequate for the captain role, because he often fails to deliver in big games. They want to see Michael Ballack as captain. I personally doubt that Robin Dutt will have the “balls” to change the leadership in the team.  I would welcome it, but it’s a tough decision that can affect the atmosphere in the team!   *5*

Renato Augusto (RM,OM,LM): With six goals and six assists this was his best season at Leverkusen. Playing in a central position helped him to step-up his game. Renato has learned to minimize his ball losses by avoiding risky dribbling in situations that could lead to a counter-attack. His work against the ball has also improved *9*

Lars Bender (DM): Despite having strong competitors on his position (Rolfes, Vidal and Ballack) Lars played 26 Bundesliga games and fulfilled his role regularly. A player with great prospects for the future. *7*

Hanno Balitsch (RB,DM,CB): His signing was seen skeptical by many fans at the beginning but he quickly turned this around with his fighter nature on the pitch. Great versatile back-up player! *6*

Michael Ballack (DM/OM): Chased by injuries in 2010, he has given the team some stability in the last stretch of games. Hopefully we will see next season the real Ballack giving the team a lot of goals and assists! *6*

Kevin Kampl (DM): The twenty year-old Slovenian youth player did not get a chance to play with the professional team. Future uncertain! *no rating*

Burak Kaplan (RM,LM): Was loaned out to Greuther Fürth (2.Bundesliga) in the winter-break. Despite being technically gifted, he is not making the next step given his difficult character. Jupp Heynckes more than once criticized his attitude in the training sessions. Only played four games in the Europa League in which he did not convince. At Greuther Fürth he scored three goals (all by set-piece) but his loaning spell ended with a disciplinary suspension by coach Michael Büskens which made him return to Bayer 04 earlier than expected. Will be loaned out again or sold. *2*

Tranquillo Barnetta (RM,LM): Not a great year for last-season assist leader of the Werkself. Only two goals and two assists in 24 league games are poor stats for the Swiss national player. An injury made him miss most of the second part of the season. Every year there are rumours that he might leave us, looking at the signings of Schürrle and Bellarabi his future at Bayer 04 is again uncertain. *3*

André Schürrle (LM,RM,ST): Mainz’s success this season is mainly due to his impressive year (15 goals / 5 assists). The signing will cost us 8 to 10 million euros depending on our results. *10*

Karim Bellarabi (RM,ST): This German-Moroccan 21 year-old talent of Eintracht Braunschweig was chased by a few Bundesliga clubs this season including Dortmund and Hoffenheim. Personally I never have seen him play but from what I heard he is a very quick right midfielder/striker. This season he scored in the 3.Liga eight goals and gave sixteen assists in 35 games.  He comes on a free transfer. There has been no talk about loaning him out, so he is set to be another speedy alternative on the wings next to Sidney Sam and André Schürrle. *7*


Eren Derdiyok (ST): Some of his six goals in the league were a real beauty, but he will want to forget this season as quickly as possible. Especially his barren run between fixture 8 and 23 (872 minutes) in which he did not score a single Bundesliga goal. Needs to improve his pressing on the rival defense and make more out of his chances.  Last week linked to FC Sevilla, I don’t think he will switch Champions League for Europa League *4*

Stefan Kießling (ST,RM): Best Werkself striker this season with seven goals and three assists. However Stefan could not confirm the great performance of last season. The long injury and formation change surely played a part but the blond striker also missed quite a lot of open chances on goal in the last games of the season which could have increased his account significantly. *5*

Nicolai Jörgensen (ST,LM,RM): While Domagoj Vida showed that he has potential, Nicolai in his nine Bundesliga and seven Europa League game did not display signs of quality. A season on loan could do him well. *2*


Zvonko Pamic (RM,OM): He was signed last summer for 500.000 EUR from HNK Rijeka and directly loaned out to Freiburg. Despite playing a good Under-19 European Championship (3 goals and 1 assist) Robin Dutt only gave him a few minutes in two Bundesliga games. He will be loaned another year to MSV Duisburg (2.Bundesliga). *no rating*

Jens Hegeler (DM, RM,CB): Together with Bastian Oczipka the best performing Bayer 04 player on loan this season and partly responsible for Nuremberg’s success this year. He returned last summer to Leverkusen after a 1 ½ year loan spell at FC Augsburg (2.Bundesliga) and asked to be loaned out again considering that he will have it hard to obtain match practise with the signing of Michael Ballack.  Jens played all 34 Bundesliga games at Nuremberg scoring three goals and giving three assists. Although more a defensive midfielder, he has played several games on the right wing. His loan spell finishes in 2012, if Leverkusen decides to sell him Nuremberg has a preference purchase right. *7*

Lucas (CB): This 19 year-old talent is a ghost, as hardly any information is available on him.  More than a year ago Leverkusen’s scouts discovered Lucas in Brazil and decided to sign the tall center-back from Associação Portuguesa de Desportos (Sao Paulo).  Last summer, he was supposed to take part in the season preparation of the professional team and play in some friendlies. It did not happen.  In January 2011 he was sent on loan for 1 1/2 years to Kaiserslautern, where he did not play a single game nor sat on the bench this season.  The club from the Betzenberg was granted a purchase option.  *no rating*

Hajime Hosogai (DM,LB): Regarded in Japan as one of the best players of the J-League, Hajime had a hard time to find a spot on the starting line-up of Augsburg.  Only at the end of the season did he play a few games over the full distance. His loan spell ends in the June 2012. *3*

Thanos Petsos (RB,DM): The greek Under-21 player was loaned out this summer to Kaiserlautern. Normally a right-back in the youth teams of Bayer 04, he made himself with a place in the first eleven as defensive midfielder from Fixture 12 onwards. He will continue for another season at Kaiserlautern. *5*

Richard Sukuta-Pasu (ST): In his second season at St.Pauli, Richie continued to struggle.  He only got play 155 minutes in the Bundesliga (1 goal + 1 assist). His loan spell at St.Pauli ends this summer and Kaiserlautern seems to be keen on purchasing the striker. *1*

Constant Djakpa (LB,LM): Not more than a back-up player at Hannover. It is not expected that the German club will make use of the purchase option.  Bayer 04 is likely to sell him.  According to English news reports, Newcastle United is interested in the player. *2*


Patrick Helmes (ST): Was sold in the winter-break after disagreements with coach Jupp Heynckes over his standing in the team. Unsatisfied with the amount of minutes he got to play, the 1-striker tactical formation and the demands of doing more defensive work on the pitch, he switched to Wolfsburg for an initial fee of 5 million and 3 million euros in installments. Under coach Steve McClaren and later Felix Magath he did not manage to make an impact. Patrick only scored one goal in seven matches and was more a substitute than a starter. Magath declared in an interview that he should improve his physical condition. Personally, I am not a fan of Helmes (passive player) and think that if he wants to be successful in the future he will have to work on his weaknesses, something he has was not prepared to do in Leverkusen (kept complaining). *4*

Marcel Risse (RM,LM): The winger has grown at Mainz despite not being a regular starter. In 25 league games he scored 2 goals and gave 5 assists. Risse was loaned out at the beginning of this season and Mainz used the purchase option of 800.000 Euros to acquire him. The amount was initially higher but was then reduced in the negotiations for the Schürrle Transfer. *6*


I like very much the idea of improving our wings with speedy players; this seems to be the objective with the transfers of André Schürrle and Karim Bellarabi. Under Heynckes the wingers were told to go inside and look for a finish or pass. With Robin Dutt as coach we can expect a few more centers from the goal line. The 1-striker formation (4-2-3-1) is likely to continue.  At Freiburg our new coach used successfully Cissé (22 goals) as lonely striker. Whether Kiessling or Derdiyok can deliver in similar fashion is a big question. Has it do with the tactics we played under Heynckes (not enough centres? too defensive?) that they had such a poor record or are both not made to play lonely in attack?

In the last days I have been thinking that selling Vidal would be not totally wrong.  If we really have no more room for further investments in our rather weak central defense, would it not make sense to let him leave for 20 million euros (to a foreign club, not Bayern!)? We would receive 70% of the transfer fee (Colo Colo 30%), 14 million euros and could replace for example Manuel Friedrich with a quality centre-back like Höwedes, Dante, Mertesacker.  Another option would be moving Reinartz into midfield to avoid having five centre-backs for two positions.

Hyypiä has led very well our defense in the last two years, I have my doubts that between Schwaab, Reinartz, M.Friedrich and Toprak a new leader can emerge who will coordinate our defensive line in a similar way. Against medium/bottom table teams this can be enough, but to make another step forward and play an even better season I see this configuration insufficient.

Looking forward to your comments, there is a lot to talk about 😉


Match Preview: Bundesliga, Fixture 28, 1.FC Kaiserslautern vs Bayer Leverkusen

Saturday, 02/04/2011 @ 15:30 (GMT+2) << Time changed in Europe last weekend!

Press conference (Thursday)

Opening Statement Heynckes: Kaiserlautern has not lost any of the last 4 games.  They are known for playing in front of their fans to the limit from the 1st to the last minute.  Not only that, our opponent is also capable of playing a good ball given the talented players in their team.  But Bayer Leverkusen has made progress in the last weeks/months, we are not just a team which plays great football.  We have improved both physically and mentally and learned to play against these kind of opponent.  My team has been very focused in the training sessions during the 2 weeks break.  I am confident that we will see a performance which will enable us to grab the 3 points in play.

Question: Are you happy that finally the speculations on your future have ceased.  How did your team react to your decision to coach Bayern Munich next season?

Heynckes: Rudi Völler and Wolfgang Holzhäuser knew some weeks before that I would not extend my contract here.  It was good to let the team play those 4 matches (Villarreal-Mainz-Villarreal-Schalke) without knowing my decision.  Unfortunately we were eliminated in the Europa League, but against Mainz and Schalke we achieved two important victories in the league.  If you look at the reactions of my players in the press you can imagine that it was not easy for them. In these two years we have build a great relationship, it’s understandable that some were disappointed or surprised.  That’s why it was best to wait and announce my decision at the beginning of this 2 weeks break.  My players and staff had now sufficient time to process this news and will shift their full concentration to the next games.

Question: You said that you will focus on Bayer Leverkusen till the season ends and not answer any question on Bayern Munich.  Reading only the newspapers however it seems that you are already coach at Bayern.  How do you manage this situation?

Heynckes: You have to know the person Jupp Heynckes, his character and the values he defends.  I will not only focus 100% on Bayer Leverkusen, the emotional link towards the club will also not change.  Till the end of the season I will burn for Bayer 04.  I want to reach with my team the direct qualification for the Champions League.  We will achieve this because my team is strong and willing to reach this goal.  If you look back to March 1987 when I was coaching Mönchengladbach I also announced that I would leave to Bayern.  There were still 10 games ahead of us, we won them all.  Of course, you could say that the players were happy that I was leaving.  But it has more to do that they felt that nothing had changed.  The training sessions and my motivation continued to be as intensive as before.  With Bayer it will be the same, however I can’t promise 7 wins.  What I can promise that I will try everything possible to bring Leverkusen into the Champions League.

Question: How is Arturo Vidal? He was just running today…

Heynckes: Vidal and Kadlec played two games with their national team.  Yesterday both were recovering in the wellness area and today they had a light training session.  Both will join the team in the training session tomorrow.  All others players have trained to the full extent today.  Only M.Friedrich and Gonzalo Castro (knee problem) are injured.  Castro is feeling fine but the doctors have said that he should take it easy till next week.  He should be again available when we meet St.Pauli.


Hyypiä has often been a question mark this season, according to the german media it’s also not sure whether he will add another year.  The Finnish player will take a decision at the end of the season.  It is possible that he will become a stand-by player or retire from active football.  Being a stand-by player involves him doing an apprenticeship at Bayer for the coaching license, train regularly and play when there is really a need for it because of injuries.  In case of retiring he could also decide switching Leverkusen for Finland or Liverpool to do his coaching license there.

Line-up Kaiserslautern (from Kicker):

Ballack will have to pay an 8.000 EUR fine for his “Scheiss FC Cologne” after the Schalke match.


A good article on Heynckes and his conflict of interest: Link

Leverkusen have signed centre-back Ömer Toprak from SC Freiburg for the next season: Link

Helmes moves to VfL Wolfsburg!

Not happy with his role at Bayer 04

It’s official!  Bayer Leverkusen have sold striker Patrick Helmes to VfL Wolfsburg.  The total transfer sum should be between 8 and 10 Mio EUR, with 5 Mio EUR being paid now  (not officially confirmed).  It was the striker desire to leave the club after he failed to adapt to Jupp Heynckes philosophy and with the return of Kiessling became only third choice in attack. 

Club boss Wolfgang Holzhäuser: “Patrick Helmes is an excellent forward who we wouldn’t have given away unasked. However, he didn’t judge his possibilities of developing in Leverkusen as well as did. We granted his wish to leave the club.”

Rudi Völler, Sport-Director: “It’s understandable that Patrick was not satisfied with his current situation. We would have liked to see him fight against his strong competitors. In the end the great attacking potential in our squad made it easier for us to let him go –also because the financial deal was okay.”

This leaves the Werkself with two proper strikers: Kiessling and Derdiyok and a back-up Jørgensen who lacks experience.  It means also that the two striker formation is history!

Feel free to comment here or in the forum!  I will join you later on!


Will Vidal and Adler stay with Bayer 04? Updates on their situation can be found in the Forum: 

Adler to Manchester United?
Arturo Vidal to Chelsea or Bayern Munich?

Match Preview: Bundesliga, Fixture 20, Bayer Leverkusen vs Hannover 96

Friday, 28/01/2011, 20:30 (GMT+1)

3 wins, 4 draws and 3 losses is the home record of Bayer Leverkusen so far this season.  A victory against Hannover is therefore not only important in the race for the Champions League positions, it would also help to improve these poor stats.

Ballack is set to return to the starting line-up!  This is the impression from the training sessions this week.  He has been playing with the theoretical starters in the training matches.

Helmes will be again not called up.  Heynckes reasoned this decision as follows: “Patrick has been too busy thinking in switching clubs.  He has trained with less intensity although never on purpose and told me that he would like to leave the club.  It would be therefore best to wait till the market closes, so he can refocus on Bayer Leverkusen.”

No offer has been received as the price tag for Helmes is set high.  Around 10 Mio EUR are necessary to make the management of Bayer Leverkusen consider releasing Helmes this winter.  Till Monday a lot can happen, but it looks like that he will continue to be a Werkself player.

EDIT: Transfer could actually take place, more information here >> Patrick Helmes to Wolfsburg,Cologne,Dortmund or Bremen? (Registration required)


Castro could move back into defense for Schwaab (poor performance against Mönchengladbach), if Sam (swollen eye) plays from the beginning.  Vidal and Ballack should alternate their roles during the match.  Lars Bender will be again not available, as he has some sort infection in his knee. With Helmes not called up, a 4-2-2-2 seems unlikely. 

Line-up Hannover (from Kicker):
Zieler – Cherundolo,Haggui,Pogatetz,C. Schulz – Schmiedebach,Pinto – Stoppelkamp,Rausch – Ya Konan,Abdellaoue


Burak Kaplan has been loaned out to Greuther Fürth (2.Bundesliga) till the end of the season.  He has hardly played with the first team, so it’s an understandable decision by both parties.

Tranquillo Barnetta injured for several weeks

The attacking midfielder hurt his right knee in the test match against second league team VfL Bochum on Tuesday. Barnetta was diagnosed with a torn medial meniscus by team doctor Dr. Achim Münster and will need surgery.

“Of course it is upsetting but I can’t change it. After my surgery I will do my best to get back to the team as soon as possible,” Barnetta said.



Striker Srdjan Lakic to Leverkusen or Wolfsburg next summer?

Rhodolfo to Leverkusen? / Further Transfer Gossip

The new Lucio?

According to the italian sports newspaper Gazetta dello Sport: Rhodolfo will sign in the coming days with Bayer Leverkusen.   The transfer sum is said to be around 5 Mio EUR.

Given that Udinese and AS Bari were interested in the centre-back, it is very likely that this information is correct.  However in the brazilian press no report can be found.  The management of Bayer 04 has also not made any statement regarding this rumour.  The next days should bring clarity in this matter.

UPDATE: Spanish Club has joined the race >> 

Sources: , 

Player Profile on Link

Wikipedia: Link

Videos uploaded by third party with no link to We assume no responsibility for it!

Goal celebration


More Transfer Gossip (Registration required in the Forum):

Patrick Helmes to Vfl Wolfsburg?
Right-back Guillaume Gillet from Anderlecht to Leverkusen?
Will Ralf Fährmann replace René Adler at Leverkusen?

Karim Bellarabi to Leverkusen! / 4-2-2-2 against Dortmund

Kicker reports today that Karim Bellarabi will soon sign with Bayer Leverkusen to join the team next season. The German sport newspaper does not publish vague rumours! It is therefore very likely to happen.

More information in the forum (registration required): Link

EDIT: It’s done has confirmed the signing!

Heynckes is also keen on young talent Nico Schulz: Link 

It seems that we will definitely play a 4-2-2-2 against Dortmund. The team has been using this system in three half-times of four in the two friendlies and according to Bild it has also been the focus in training.

The newspaper says that the Line-up could be as follows:






Yes Hyypiä could take a seat on the bench! 

A preview can be found tomorrow on the blog!